5, Jul, 22

Wizard's Favorite MTG Format Bans this Ridiculous Card!

Article at a Glance

Ban announcements for July 5th are up, and only one format is affected. Alchemy had to ban its first card since the format’s iteration. Alongside this comes many nerfs and a few buffs that MTG Arena’s digital formats will see. However, the most exciting topic to discuss is that one of the most significant upsides to having digital formats just failed in front of our eyes. Here’s the card joining the MTG banned list.

Grinning Ignus is BANNED in Alchemy

grinning ignus

For those wondering why Grinning Ignus got the boot in a format that’s not supposed to ban things, it’s because of some ridiculous interactions that would be really difficult to fix. Grinning Ignus has always treaded the line between being broken and useless. Unfortunately, Perpetual effects exist in Alchemy. These effects are generally granted to cards that aren’t in play and persist between different zones. This would be the equivalent of a creature being given a +1+1 counter in your hand that still has it when it enters play.

racketeer boss

Racketeer Boss broke the thin line that kept Grinning Ignus from being busted. Since it Perpetually allows Ignus to create a Treasure Token on Cast, this could be used to loop Grinning Ignus infinitely between your hand and play. With infinite Enter the Battlefield triggers, a tool like Cabaretti Revels can quickly assemble a death combo that kills your opponent. Grinning Ignus has more powerful iterations of its archetype in other formats, but the power level it represents was unmatchable by the rest of the metagame. Because of how difficult it is to balance and the gigantic power level gap, Grinning Ignus is the first card to be featured on the Alchemy MTG banned list.

This isn’t the only format that Grinning Ignus has promise in. If you’re interested in trying to abuse the recent ban list victim, we recently wrote an article outlining its uses in multiple formats.

Meathook Massacre is Nerfed

A-Meathook Massacre

Nerfs are coming our way for the Alchemy cards that Wizards could change. Meathook Massacre got the same nerf treatment as the digital exclusive card Sanguine Brushstroke. While this is collateral damage for the real reason of its banning, this should make aristocrat decks less grindy for aggressive players.

The real reason that Meathook Massacre saw a nerf is in respect to the Golgari Food archetype that stood on top of Historic. This, alongside Izzet Phoenix and Rakdos Midrange, has dominated the format for an absurd amount of time. With how stale Historic is at top-level play for what seriously maybe a year, this is a VERY welcome change.

Historic Changes

Everything from this point onwards is strictly related to Historic. This isn’t everything the announcement has stated, but it is the majority.

Insane Cauldron Familiar Nerf!

A-cauldron familiar

Of everything on this list, this is, quite honestly, the most relevant change. Cauldron Familiar can no longer block. This means that the age-old strategy of blocking in Combat with the cat, sacrificing it to Witch’s Oven, and bringing it back, is gone! For the first time in a while, aggressive decks have an opportunity to reemerge in Historic. Hopefully, this adds some much-needed diversity to a format that’s been stale for far too long.

Unholy Heat is Nerfed!

A-unholy heat

Unholy Heat was too adaptable before the changes. When Delirium is turned on, six points of damage ensure that whatever Creature or Planeswalker this touches is very dead. Nerfing the Delirium damage to four should allow for some counterplay in large Creature decks and ensures that there are some matchups where the card falls off. Not being able to one-shot a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, is a massive change.

READ MORE: This Small Change Could Make MTG Arena a Lot More Fun

Dragon-Rage Channeler is Nerfed!

A-Dragon-Rage Channeler

In an attempt to make Dragon’s Rage Channeler, or DRC, easier to deal with, it received a significant nerf. Like Unholy Heat, the card became too powerful when Delirium turned on. As a result, instead of getting a +2+2 buff, it now receives a +2+0. With its Surveil ability, this allows DRC to continue being a Delirium Enabler but makes it a less oppressive threat afterward. While it still presents the same amount of damage, this should be easier to remove and interact with in combat.

These Aren’t all the Changes…

There is one more change to mention, but this isn’t the place to do it. It’s a unique thing that is affected by many of the nerfs on this list. As a result, approaching it should be done in a different discussion.

Either way, this example highlights that MTG’s problems can’t be solved by nerfs and buffs alone. Because of how close Grinning Ignus is between being broken and useless, nerfing it will make it useless. Therefore, ironically, Wizards added Grinning Ignus to the MTG banned list. However, this is an exciting development since we now have an example of the nerf and buff system failing for the first time. No matter how we try to distance ourselves from it, the MTG banned list is needed to keep formats healthy.

For those who want to see everything Wizard of the Coast’s most recent change has to offer, you can find them here.

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